Four hundred metabolic procedure milestone for KZN hospital

Metabolic intervention has numerous health benefits for many obese patients

Thursday, October 19 2017

Surgeon Dr Gert du Toit and his partner Dr Ivor Funnell of the Durban Metabolic Surgery Centre at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, yesterday completed their 400th metabolic procedure on a 21-year-old overweight patient who said she felt privileged to be able to have the surgery.

Photo: The Durban Metabolic Surgery Centre at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban recently completed a milestone of 400 metabolic procedures. From left are: Andrew Bodley, Ethicon Johnson and Johnson; Cheryl Lutchmiah, surgical ward unit manager; Dr Ivor Funnell, surgeon; Ms Sanchia Tibshaeny, patient; and Dr Gert Du Toit, surgeon.

“I have struggled with my weight my entire life and have tried absolutely everything to get it under control,” said Sanchia Tibshraeny from Durban shortly before the procedure. “My family and I have undertaken years of research into the best way I can achieve weight loss, and it became abundantly clear to us that laparoscopic metabolic surgery would be the best and safest route for me.

“I wanted to have the procedure a few years ago, but for various reasons I wasn’t able to then, and I am glad that I had to wait, as I now feel more mature and completely ready for it,” added Tibshraeny, who said that she suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) as a result of being overweight.

“I am so excited to be able to finally have the procedure done by Dr Du Toit, and it is an honour to be his 400th patient. This is clearly the metabolic surgery centre with the most experienced and expert team in KwaZulu-Natal.”

Dr Du Toit, who runs the multidisciplinary Durban Metabolic Surgery centre together with surgical partner, Dr Funnell, said after Ms Tibshraeny’s procedure that the surgery was successful and he expected her to begin benefitting from it soon. A further procedure, the team’s 401st, was successfully completed directly after Ms Tibshraeny’s operation yesterday.

“There are four different types of metabolic surgeries available today and not only are they exceptionally low risk minimally invasive procedures, but they show outstanding results for most patients, who find them life changing.

“The metabolic surgery options offer a highly effective means of tackling obesity, and also have a high degree of success in resolving conditions such as PCOS, blood sugar problems, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, mobility and joint problems, and a number of others which are commonly associated with obesity,” explains Dr Du Toit.

The managing director of Netcare’s Hospital division, Jacques du Plessis, said that Dr Du Toit’s achievement in completing a milestone 400 procedures at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital’s metabolic centre, which is fully accredited by the South African Society for Surgery, Obesity and metabolism (SASSO), was nothing short of outstanding.

“These figures highlight the high level of professionalism that has been achieved at the Durban Metabolic Surgery Centre, which has brought hope to so many obese patients within KwaZulu-Natal province.”

“The centre was recently recognised with the inaugural ‘Centre of the Year’ award from SASSO, and Dr Du Toit and his team are to be congratulated for their life-changing treatment of obese patients,” notes Du Plessis.

Dr Du Toit explains that metabolic surgery, which is undertaken laparoscopically through small puncture holes in the abdomen, limits how much you can eat and also reduces the absorption of nutrients by the digestive system. The individual consequently feels satiated, or full, after consuming smaller portions of food and experiences changes in the entire metabolic system to support weight loss.

Dr Du Toit says that many South Africans tend to mistakenly think of this form of metabolic surgery, which is commonly known as bariatric surgery, as purely cosmetic weight loss surgery.

“In the great majority of cases where patients are treated and properly supported before and after surgery by a multidisciplinary team, however, the metabolic surgery approach not only achieves outstanding weight loss results but numerous associated health benefits, with an extremely low degree of risk.”

“Many overweight South Africans such as Ms Tibshraeny know how difficult it is to achieve sustained weight loss through dieting and exercise alone.

“Metabolic surgery is a viable treatment for many individuals who have struggled with obesity and its associated health risks. It is also highly effective in enabling patients to maintain weight loss over the long term,” concludes Dr Du Toit.  

Notes to editors: Centres of excellence for metabolic medicine and surgery
There are currently five centres of excellence for metabolic medicine and surgery at Netcare hospitals, offering patients access to specialised metabolic surgery, including gastric bypass procedures.

These centres of excellence are located at Netcare Sunward Park Hospital in Boksburg, Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, Netcare Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth, Netcare N1 City Hospital in Cape Town, and Netcare Waterfall City Hospital in Midrand, Gauteng.  The centre at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital is the only internationally accredited centre for the treatment of metabolic conditions in South Africa, and is the principal centre for the four other locally accredited centres of excellence located at Netcare hospitals.

The dedicated multidisciplinary teams at these centres are comprised of surgeons, endocrinologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and dieticians, among others, in line with the protocols advocated by the South African Society for Surgery, Obesity and metabolism (SASSO), which is chaired by endocrinologist, Professor Tess van der Merwe. As director of the Centres of Excellence for Metabolic Medicine and Surgery of South Africa (CEMMS)(SA), Prof Van der Merwe oversees the work of the centres of excellence, including those based at Netcare hospitals.

The centres adhere to international practises to create a safe environment and to support obese patients with empathy and care. To comply with international standards, a database with statistics on each patient is maintained. Strict protocols and regulations with regard to patients’ dietary environment, as well as care in ICU and wards are followed. Training facilities with specialised technology and equipment are also incorporated in the centres.        


Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, Pieter Rossouw  and Alison Sharp
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        [email protected], [email protected], [email protected][email protected] or [email protected]